Donald Trump’s unprecedented phone call with the president of Taiwan last week was the culmination of a lengthy lobbying effort by former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) to help Taiwanese officials gain access to Trump and his advisers.
Documents filed with the Justice Department and reviewed by the New York Times show that Dole spent several months lobbying Trump officials for the Taiwanese government and arranging meetings.
His efforts with the firm Alston & Bird led to the call between Trump and the president of Taiwan that prompted a warning from China. The disclosure documents were submitted about a week ago, before the phone call, and Dole later confirmed that he played a role in setting up the call.
“It’s fair to say that we had some influence,” Dole told the New York Times on Tuesday. “When you represent a client and they make requests, you’re supposed to respond.”
Documents show that Dole also set up meetings between Trump’s advisers and representatives from Taiwan, according to the Times.
“They’re very optimistic,” he told the Times, referencing Taiwanese officials. “They see a new president, a Republican, and they’d like to develop a closer relationship.”
Dole was paid $140,000 between May and October for his lobbying efforts and made contact with the Trump campaign before the election. He asked Trump aides to help a Taiwanese delegation attend the Republican National Convention, and Dole played a role in changing the Republican platform regarding policy toward China and Taiwan, per the Times.
The former senator set up a meeting between Taiwanese officials and Sen. Jeff Session (R-AL), now Trump’s pick to lead the Justice Department, and he is currently trying to arrange a meeting with Reince Priebus, possibly for after the inauguration, the Times reported.